According to the Mercury News, the Department of Justice has filed papers to try and force Google to comply with a subpoena issued last year which includes a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.
Why does the DOJ want to get its hands on this information?
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
It appears other search engines have already complied with the request but Google, fearing this could cause users to be less forthcoming with their information, is determined to fight the order.
The Mountain View-based search and advertising giant opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.
Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government’s effort “vigorously.”
“Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching,” Wong said.
I commend Google for taking this stance. While the data requested may be innocuous at this stage, it would certainly set a dangerous precedent.